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Author:

Lance Benzel

Legal Affairs reporter

Lance Benzel covers legal affairs for The Gazette, with a focus on the criminal courts, and also writes a monthly mountain biking column entitled "Rider in Residence." He joined the newspaper's staff in 2008 after previous stops in Billings, Mont., central North Carolina and Chicago.

Former Sheriff Indicted
Former El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa listens during closing arguments in his trail in Colorado Springs, Colo., Monday, July 10, 2017. Jurors began deliberating Monday. The former lawman is accused of trying to undermine the credibility of three deputies and threatening to terminate a $5.3 million contract with the jail's health provider if it did not fire an employee who refused to support then-Undersheriff Paula Presley's candidacy to succeed him. (Adam Knapik/KOAA-TV via AP, Pool)
Aaron Hernandez Lawyer
FILE - In this March 1, 2017, file photo, lead defense attorney Jose Baez delivers his opening statement to the jury on the first day of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez's double-murder trial at Suffolk Superior Court in Boston. Baez won an acquittal for Hernandez, and for Casey Anthony in 2011 in the death of her toddler. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, Pool, File)
El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa speaks to the press Tuesday, June 10, 2014, at the Sheriff's Office in Colorado Springs, Colo., about the details of the Black Forest Fire action report on the eve of the anniversary of the fire. Maketa wouldn't talk about the recent allegations of sexual improprieties in his office. (AP Photo/The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
Former El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa leaves the courtroom after being acquitted on three of seven charges after a jury hangs on the remaining charges Tuesday, July 11, 2017, in the 4th Judicial District Court inside the Terry R. Harris Judicial Building in Colorado Springs, Colo. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
Former El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa leaves the courtroom after being acquitted on three of seven charges after a jury hangs on the remaining charges Tuesday, July 11, 2017, in the 4th Judicial District Court inside the Terry R. Harris Judicial Building in Colorado Springs, Colo. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
Ex-El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa leaves the courtroom with his defense team after being acquitted on three of seven charges after a jury hangs on the remaining charges Tuesday, July 11, 2017, in the 4th Judicial District Court inside the Terry R. Harris Judicial Building in Colorado Springs, Colo. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
The trial of former El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa has gone to the jury after closing arguments. Maketa, 52, is charged with nine counts alleging that he abused his power during his third term in office with the goal of damaging political rivals and potentially destroying the careers of deputies. Maketa listens to closing arguments at the El Paso County Judicial Building on Monday, July 10, 2017. (AP Pool, KOAA-TV, Adam Knapik)
Former El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa waits inside of the Terry R. Harris Judicial Complex on the first day of his jury selection for the trial on Tuesday June 27, 2017. (Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette).
maketa
El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa speaks to the press Tuesday, June 10, 2014, at the Sheriff's Office in Colorado Springs, Colo., about the details of the Black Forest Fire action report on the eve of the anniversary of the fire. Maketa wouldn't talk about the recent allegations of sexual improprieties in his office. (AP Photo/The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
maketa trial
Former El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa listens to testimony during his corruption trial Friday, June 30, 2017, in the 4th Judicial District Court inside the Terry R. Harris Judicial Building in Colorado Springs, Colo. (AP Pool, KOAA-TV, Adam Knapik)